|Raindrops on spruce|
Lately I’ve been a bit bored with taking summer photos in the season’s harsh light and distant haze. This morning’s fogginess makes the mountain look a lot more interesting to me again. That, and a new and empty photo card had me snapping shots like crazy.
The rain comes too late for the spotted touch-me-not plants that withered and died, leaving the ground bare of vegetation where they grew thickly. It comes in time to save the local corn and boost the water in Beaver Creek (and elsewhere). So for at least a little while the mountain will look and feel “normal” to me again.
I have lived in my cabin now for more than 20 years, and over those years I’ve developed a sense, perhaps a memory, of how the forest looks and feels, for lack of another word, in all its seasons. I know when the migrating birds should arrive and leave. I know when the trees should turn color in the fall. I know what winters and summers should feel like. I know what blooms here and what lives here, what the sky looks like when the weather will turn nasty. And I know that things are out of whack.
That sense began slowly, when I started noticing that leaves fell later and later each year. They now fall a good three weeks later than they did when I first moved here. I know that the trees are budded and leafed out far too early for the warblers that arrive in the spring. That used to be such a beautiful thing, a perfect balance in nature, with each species arriving at just the right moment, coinciding with the first appearance of the insects each preferred. The ground-loving warblers arrived first, then the mid-canopy birds and finally the ones that sought food from the highest branches of all. Now, the trees are nearly fully leafed out by the time the first warblers arrive, even though the warblers are coming earlier too.
My sense of normal is solely based on my observations of what happens in the forest around me. I have nothing but anecdotal evidence to support what I’m saying. Others do the science, though the science supports my observations.
A new article to be published in an upcoming issue of Rolling Stone starts off with this: “ June broke or tied 3,215 high-temperature records across the United States. That followed the warmest May on record for the Northern Hemisphere – the 327th consecutive month in which the temperature of the entire globe exceeded the 20th-century average, the odds of which occurring by simple chance were 3.7 x 10-99, a number considerably larger than the number of stars in the universe.” If you’d like to read the full article, it’s here.